“Being able to make healthy choices depends on physical and social conditions at home, in neighborhoods, at schools and at work. For example, a person’s ability—and motivation—to be physically active, eat a healthy diet and avoid smoking and excessive drinking can be diminished by living in a neighborhood that lacks safe places for physical activity, where there are liquor stores but no grocery stores, and where intensive tobacco and alcohol advertising is prevalent. But living and working in neighborhoods that have sidewalks and safe places to exercise, after-school recreation programs and
access to nutritious foods can promote good health by making it easier to adopt and maintain healthy behaviors.”
In the period of 2005-7, 45% of all US adults between 25 and 74 said they were in less than very good health. This proportion varied from a low of 35% in Vermont (the self-reported ‘healthiest state’) to a high of 53% in Mississippi (the self-reported least-healthy state). That’s more than one-half of Mississippi adults who believed they’re none too healthy.
Across the US, the percent of adults in less than very good health varied by level of education. Least-educated adults were more than 3 times as likely in some states to be in less than very good health compared to college graduates. Health improves with the level of education: high school graduates were more likely than college grads to be in less than very good health.
Health status among adults also varied across racial and ethnic groups. The percent of adults in less than very good health tends to be lower among non-Hispanic whites than in all other groups. Non-Hispanic black and Hispanic adults typically were most likely to be in less than very good health—more than twice as likely as white adults, in some states, RWJF found.